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Homocysteine is a nonessential amino acid that is biosynthesised through a multistep process from methionine, and can also be converted into cysteine (Chandler and Payne-James 2006, Rossi and others 2008). Many studies (including veterinary), have shown that a high concentration of homocysteine is a sensitive marker for folate and vitamin B deficiency, and also an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease (McMichael and others 2000, Finch and Joseph 2010). Accordingly, homocysteine is considered a biomarker for increased risk of cardiovascular diseases and impaired clinical outcomes, regardless of the unknown relationship between homocysteine and cardiac dysfunction. Similarly, there have been very few veterinary studies that have showed a relationship between homocysteine and the severity of heart failure in dogs (Suematsu and others 2007, Rossi and others 2008, Trisolini and others 2008). This study focused on evaluating the baseline plasma levels of homocysteine in dogs at different stages of chronic mitral valve insufficiency (CMVI), in order to assess and delineate the relationship of plasma levels of homocysteine, to the severity of heart failure.
The study population consisted of 101 dogs (median age: 11.2 ± 2.4 years; range: 7–17 years) with CMVI. The dogs were presented to either the Veterinary Teaching Hospital of Kangwon National University or the Chung-Hyun Animal Hospital from 2010 to 2011. All dogs …